Vesak celebrations in Toronto

Posted on 17 June 2017 by admin

The vibrant city of Toronto counts the largest number of Sri Lankan expatriates in Canada. The Sinala/Tamil New Year, Vesak, and other relgious festivals are celebrated by numerous Sri Lankan Socio-Cultural Organizations based in Toronto in assoication with the Consulate General for Sri Lanka in Toronto. Following is an account of the Toronto Vesak celebrations with files from mainstream media outlets.


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Followers of Lord Buddha’s philosophy marked the birth, attainment of enlightenment and passing away of Lord Buddha, by organising several events in the Greater Toronto Area, with the active participation of the Consul General of Sri Lanka in Toronto and staff.

The West End Buddhist Temple and Meditation Centre of Mississauga, together with other Buddhist temples in the GTA, representing Theravada, Mahayana and Vijirayana Sects organised an event on 28 May to mark Vesak, which included prayers, sermons and parade and was attended by devotees from Sri Lanka, China, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and Nepal. Chair of the organising committee Ven. Dr. Bhante Saranapala delivered the main sermon highlighting the way to follow Lord Buddha’s journey for the benefit, welfare and happiness of human beings with his blessings on the city, the nation and the world. 

Addressing the gathering Consul General of Sri Lanka emphasised the relevance of following Lord Buddha’s teaching today than ever before and the contribution of Buddhism towards spirituality of humanity. The Consul General also highlighted Sri Lanka’s pivotal role in declaring Vesak as ‘International Vesak Day’ by the United Nations and this year’s International Vesak Day under the theme ‘Buddhist teachings for Social Justice and Sustainable World Peace’ in Colombo. This event was attended by Senator Victor Oh, Federal Member of Parliament Peter Fonseca, Mayor of Mississauga Bonnie Crombie and Provincial Minister Dipika Damerla. 

Dr. Veronique Tomaszewski, Adjunct Professor of the Department of Sociology of the York University delivered the keynote address at the Vesak celebrations organised by the Canada-Sri Lanka Sinhala Association on 26 May in Scarborough. Clergy representing Buddhist, Christian, Hindu and Islamic faiths, Consuls General of Sri Lanka and Nepal and other dignitaries graced the occasion.      

The Most Ven. Ahangama Rathanasiri Nayaka Thero of the Toronto Maha Vihara, while delivering his sermon to mark Vesak at the Vihara premises, stressed the importance of following Lord Buddha’s philosophy and transforming life of all human being. The events, held from 13 May, included a two-day Sil program, devotional songs, a special sermon by Ven. Assaji Thero of the United Kingdom, virindhu, dansala and awarding of certificates to Dhamma school participants. A colourful vesak pandal illustrating ‘Deeghithi Kosala Jathaka’ was also exhibited at the temple premise for three days. 

The Brampton-Caledon Buddhist Mission Centre organised its Vesak celebrations at its newly acquired premises in Caledon for the first time on 7 May. Consul General of Sri Lanka and officials of the Consulate General took part at the event and at the certificate awarding ceremony of its Dhamma School.

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